Ok, so I did what I would never ever do. I never in my wildest dream thought I would buy a Bose product as my primary headphone. Yes, I have had the Bose in-ear headphones for a while. I have always thought of them as a worthy product as a casual headphone and a huge step-up from the stock iPod headphones – but never imagined using them as my primary headphones. I use them primarily in the gym or for listening to podcasts when I am in bed.
After having observed people don these massive over the ear Bose QC headphones for years (and wonder, why they wont get the Etymotics or the Shures), I gave in and got a pair of the Bose QC 15s a few days ago on a whim. Now, these things dont come cheap – they were a solid 300 dollars. Given that in audiophile sites all over the web, the Bose QCs have a much maligned reputation of enhancing the low-end frequencies (aka bass heavy), I was very apprehensive about having ordered them. (As to why any rational human being would be apprehensive about spending some significant cash and still do it is beyond me). But anyways, I received by shiny new QC 15s yesterday. And I have spent a lot of time listening to my eclectic musical collection on it.
I listened to the Concert for Bangladesh on it. And some classic Bollywood. Some contemporary Rock. Some classic Rock – Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Springsteen etc. My expectations couldn’t be more different from my experiences.
For those that don’t want to read the whole review – these headphones are great. Forget the audiophile reviews – I have read reviews who complain about a 10 dB attenuation measured on some kind of device that the human ear can’t even discern.
These aren’t the headphones you will buy if you want the most faithful sound reproduction. But if you are like most mortals – who don’t sit in an acoustically optimized room all day to discern the fidelity of each tone and if noise cancellation and comfort are also important for you alongwith fidelity and depth and space of sound – these are the headphones for you.
I can’t claim to have compared them to other brands (notably the Sennheisers ) so I cant do a comparative study. But in absolute terms – these are very very good headphones. They beat my expectations. Now, lets talk about the sound.
They definitely have the Bose sound signature. Which means that the warmer notes are enhanced. They are definitely not bass enhanced. The QC 15s reproduce the low-end frequencies excellently. The high ends are not best in class – but the overall sound signature is very detailed. I havent caught any “muddiness” that the audiophiles like to always complain about.
Compared to my Etymotic ER4s, they are definitely mellower. The Etymotics are much brighter. But is your experience listening to Dylan any worse – especially over a 6 hour flight. My answer would have to be no.
The sound signature on the QC 15 can only be classified as warm and rich. Very Bose. They sound very good. But yes, my Etymotics sound better – but the Etymotics are not the best for every environment. And for long listening sessions, I think the Bose over the ear headphones would be more appropriate.
Would I recommend them? I would absolutely – if you don’t mind carrying around a full sized headphone set. The build quality seems very good. It comes with an excellent case. And its certainly extremely comfortable.
I will say that the quality – build and sound – were far beyond what I expected from them. Overall, great headphones. And again, highly recommended.